It worked! The snow dances, ski burning, praying to Ullr, and all other means of begging for snow charged up the atmosphere over the last week. Big powder days were reported in Tahoe, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, the Tetons, Utah and Colorado. And while the east coast didn’t measure three to five feet of snow as was the case further west, they did get in on the action. Many areas reported 6 to 12 inches, especially in northern Pennsylvania and southern New England. Is more snow in store for the upcoming week, or will the atmosphere take a break?
Pacific Northwest and Far West
It looks like the next seven days are going to be a lot like the past few months. With the storm track retreating back to the north, snow will stay in the forecast for northern Washington (what else is new!). Oregon will also see some flakes, but unfortunately the Tahoe area will go back into a dry period. At least there were big snows for northern California last week—with three to five feet of snow falling over a five-day stretch. I am seeing some hints that more storms could return around the early or middle part of February, but that’s over two weeks away, so it’s no sense thinking about details just yet. Keep doing that Ullr-snow dance-burning ski thing and let’s hope the storm track backtracks toward the south again.
The snow forecast through Monday, Jan. 30. Weather computer models are never exactly right, but this provides a good overview of where the flakes will fly.
Life is good for the central and northern Rockies, with about four feet of fresh snow falling in the Tetons of Wyoming and the Wasatch of Utah last week. Much of the new snow tended to be on the heavier side. This provided a smooth and creamy powder experience, but also loads the existing snowpack with a great deal of weight. This added weight markedly increased avalanche danger, with many local avalanche centers issuing warnings to backcountry and sidecountry users. Enjoy the new snow, but remember to balance the lure of fresh powder against the danger of avalanches. Looking ahead, the northern Rockies (especially central Colorado and north to the Tetons) should see another good storm on Thursday night and Friday morning, and perhaps more powder next Tuesday.
Three-time Olympian, Caroline Lalive enjoyed the 10 inches of fresh powder at Steamboat on Jan. 22, 2012. Photo by Larry Pierce.
Northeast and Mid-Atlantic
The words “eastern trough” should bring smiles to folks in this area, though we have to get through yet another warm storm first. Some rain, ice and snow will head through the Mid-Atlantic and New England Thursday into Friday, before colder air covers the entire area by the weekend. A “trough” is another word for a dip in the storm track. And while this dip doesn’t necessarily guarantee lots of fresh powder, it will tend to keep things on the cooler side heading into next week. This means good snow-making conditions and perhaps some new snow for northern New England. Overall, conditions should improve each day of the weekend and into early next week. There’s a hint at another warm storm toward the last days of January, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Meteorologist Joel Gratz is the creator of opensnow.com and is based in Boulder, Colo.